What is “homing from work?” The term actually shows up online in the Urban Dictionary described as: “A counter to Working from Home where your primary role is performing your job duties from your home. Instead of working, a person can do a plethora of things ranging from paying their bills, reading the news, reading a book, making personal phone calls or watching their favourite soaps.“
There even is a study conducted by Captivate Network in 2013 on the concept. The study, which focused primarily on office workers and professionals, showed that 93 percent of workers took breaks from work to do personal things that they would otherwise do from home if they had time. Two out of three workers took personal time at the office to do online shopping and half of workers left the office to take care of personal errands.
Touted as the latest buzzword among HR professionals, this isn’t actually some new trend since office workers have actually been practicing the idea for years without giving it a name or setting any trends. It’s actually easier to do today with new technology than it was just five or ten years ago.
What are Typical Personal Errands that Employees Do from the Office
Examples of simple errands during breaks that take very little time:
- Scheduling doctor or other appointments
- Handling banking issues
- Shopping online – if you already know what you need and where to get it
- Checking the stock market reports
- Checking lottery numbers
Examples of errands during work hours that would normally require you leave the office for more than 10 or 20 minutes:
- Picking up the dry cleaning
- Shopping for a special gift
- Returning or exchanging an item at a store
- Fitting for a suit or tux
- Fitting for a wedding dress
- Meetings with wedding vendors
What Companies Are Doing About Their Employees Homing from Work
It’s hard for any HR professional to be too accusatory about their employees taking care of personal business while at work, since they’d have to admit they do it too. However, there are still some companies today that are old-school and traditional that they may eventually lose employees who find work at another company or firm that embraces the trend.
A 2017 study by Sodexo found that “With retention crucial to the success of any organization the revelation from the study that 67% of knowledge workers stated the reason for leaving their last role was because their workplace was not optimized for them is a wake-up call for organizations.“
How Companies Can Embrace “Homing From Work”
There are myriad homing from work benefits for companies and their employees when they take a new look at the concept instead of trying to curb those activities. Benefits include positive effects on recruiting, retention and overall productivity.
Healthier Work Life Balance
It may seem odd that anyone working up to nine hours a day at the office would claim a better work life balance. However, more white-collar employees report that if they can take care of some personal items during the workday, they’re happier with their jobs and experience less stress both at work and at home.
Increased Focus on Work Tasks
It is easy to get distracted at work when there are too many personal things that need to be done from home or at the office during a long day at work.
Conversely, if a manager allows a certain level of work-life integration, such as an on-demand errand service or taking a break from the monotony of the daily grind to handle some tasks, thereby increasing an employee’s ability to focus on work.
Create a Results-Oriented Work Environment
Company managers who pay more attention to the productivity of their employees and not how many hours they’re at the office and support them during long hour days, have happier employees with a higher productivity level.
Bosses should give their workers specific instructions as to what their responsibilities are on the job, required procedures and deadlines, and then focus on the results. Once the employees know what is needed and when, and have the freedom to fit in personal things during work hours, they’ll actually be more productive.
Flexibility Rather than Restraint
Adapting to a more flexible work ethic with their employees rather than constantly restraining them from doing even the smallest homing at work task, like checking personal emails while at the office, can go a long way.
Many companies still frown on their employees using the company computer to do personal tasks and even have monitoring software so they can see how much personal time they spend online. Even bringing in a personal laptop to the office is a big no-no in some companies.
However, the increased capacity of today’s cell phones allows employees to conduct their personal business while at work without using the company’s systems and without relying on a second laptop brought from home.
Today’s technological advancements, however, allow employees to keep their personal and work online usage separate so bosses can be more flexible with how their employees spend their work time while allowing a more relaxing workplace experience.
Homing from Work and Working from Home Flexibility
Being more flexible with how much time an employee must be physically in the company office can also go a long way. Many employees can access the office systems via online connections and can do their work from home, cutting down on the commute time to work every day.
Companies supporting homing from work give their employees the best of both worlds, rewarding the company with increased productivity, higher employee retention and lower turnover rates, making it a win-win for company and employee alike and a concept that should be readily accepted in today’s workplace.